The other member in the family, the best friend, the office colleague, everyone or someone has breached our trust sometimes. We have nursed injuries. We have cried foul and thought of ourselves being at the receiving end.
Yet we have also not been worthy of others belief many a times, knowingly or unknowingly we have hurt others. It seems being human we become part of this precarious game.
Alok was in a thoughtful mood defining and redefining silently what is the essence of 'trust'.
The tiny Oraon tribal hamlet of 40 houses is into deep sleep, except the dim-lighted broken community toongi (club house), where half-a-dozen men were enjoying semi-distilled mahua. Alok looked at the chapatiless, boiled vegetable dinner neatly placed near his table.
It didn’t excite him, though his conscience was forcing him to have it or else it’s the waste of the pure labour of love with which Didi prepared this food.
Guilty! Yet he moved ahead, opened the thatched gate of the mud house and wandered in the clean red-earth-road of Dhan-Gaon. Still thoughtful, Alok stumbled upon a lonely Jokhi didi loitering in the dark.
“What’s the matter babu...not asleep?” “You educated young men always roam in search of what you only know.”
“See our boys are always in search handi (traditional rice beer) or mahua. Goddess bless them...”
Alok had no point to make, neither was he avoiding Jokhi. He quite liked Jokhi, who must be of the same age as Alok. In her early twenties she looked worn-out, dilapidated skeletal human body.
Her age is that of an old lady in this hamlet, where life expectancies rarely cross beyond late thirties.
Sharp and witty, Jokhi asked Alok again. “Want Khaini(chewing tobacco).” Alok said,”yes,” with thinking and realising he never had it nor did he ever intended to have it. “It doesn’t matter,” he mulled, and put some in his mouth in a manner similar to how Jokhi did.
“What’s the matter with you Jokhi didi? You are the old lady,... mother of two young men why are you roaming,” said Alok jokingly.
“I knew you will have this question. Very predictable of an educated young man,” she said and laughed hysterically, usual of her style.
Alok knew there will be no answers. This was a trust building exercise and he has not succeded building the bridge with Jokhi, or for that matter anyone else in this village to get a straight answer.
Jokhi, the smart one she was, could gauge Alok’s apprehension.
“Not in a mood to be in this village ..sometimes sit with us in the evening have some daru and see how people trust you..we are simple people you just need to be simple with us,” Jokhi said.
Jokhi’s 10-year-old daughter came running. “Mai mai (mother, mother) come fast chutki (the small one) is running high fever.”
Jokhi gave all her khaini to Alok and ran saying, “Babu this looks like bada bukhar (Malaria).”